Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 35

with another livestreaming program, Cook broadcasts "Columbia County Connect" every Wednesday morning via Periscope and promotes it on the multiple social media accounts. The show features the commission chairman's conversation with a county employee, such as someone from animal services or transportation, to discuss community issues. "We get anywhere from 40 to 50 viewers on Periscope alone every Wednesday," Cook said. This use of Periscope helps maintain a constant weekly audience that knows where to find the content. Recently, Cook added all of the videos that had been broadcasted via Periscope to the county's YouTube account, cross-promoting once again. Working in a coastal county, Cook often looks to metro Atlanta counties as a model for how to grow on social media. "It is a lot more challenging since we're not as big," she said. She knows, however, that Columbia has had its successes, and she encourages counties of all sizes to take the leap into social media. Like others in her field, she recommends posting community-friendly stories mixed in with the hard news. "Post things that people want to know," Cook said. "The community loves 'feel-good' stories." Good Websites Media is about more than tweeting the selfie with the best filter. In this digital age, websites remain a staple communications tool, and they must constantly adapt to keep up with the latest technology. The majority of people get their information from mobile devices now, and websites need to be suited for that. When redesigning its archaic website a couple years ago, Hall County kept the ever-changing landscape of technology in mind. Created by CivicPlus, the website was launched in December of 2014 and the package includes a redesign by the company every four years. "We have been very thrilled with the public's support and feedback for the website," Katie Crumley, Hall County's public information officer, said. "Once again, we'll be able to solicit feedback from citizens." The website was redesigned to be more visually appealing and user-friendly. It includes features like a detailed "How Do I..." section for constituents to find information on different services and a constant sidebar with How to Launch Your County on Social Media Patrick Burns is the president of Arc3Communications, a company that specializes in digital marketing for local governments as well as consulting and training local government officials on how to use social media to promote citizen engagement. BURNS' STEP ONE "You want to look at: who is your constituent?" he said. "What are those demographics in your county?" Because each county is so different in size, geography and population, Burns believes that understanding the audience is the county's first step to entering the realm of social media. PLATFORMS TO CONSIDER "Twitter is important from the standpoint that news media tend to be on Twitter," Burns said, "and look to Twitter for breaking news." He recommends counties have an account on this platform because it is a way to educate constituents as well as local media outlets. Facebook is like a gateway to the rest of the social media world, according to Burns. Most everyone has a Facebook account, and it allows engagement and interaction with citizens. "It's becoming the new landline, the new telephone, really," Burns said. Periscope is a video livestreaming app connected to Twitter, and Facebook also has a livestreaming product for the iPhone, called Facebook Live. Burns points out that these could be used to broadcast Board of Commissioners meetings. "It promotes more transparency and promotes engagement," he said. "You can reach people that may or may not be able to make a county commission meeting." Beyond the main ones, there are plenty of other apps on the market. According to Burns, Instagram, the platform that is more visual and requires a photo with every post, is very popular among millennials. Tumblr - the blogging platform - leans toward a younger, liberal, more urban audience while Pinterest - the craft and do-it-yourself app - caters to a more rural clientele that is mostly female. DEVELOPING A PLAN Just as with traditional media, first determine the mission, goals and objectives for the county as part of its marketing strategy. County leadership also needs to keep in mind the resources and time required beyond a certain amount of platforms. Beyond Twitter and Facebook, managing posts on several accounts requires more time commitment. MANAGING THE ACCOUNTS "The ideal situation would be that you have a communications person or someone on the county team that is savvy with social media," Burns said. "And then you have maybe two or three or four other folks - elected officials, county manager, someone from the sheriff's office [for example] - that would be your content marketing team." This team, he says, could meet and decide as a group what content interests the county's constituents. This is an ideal situation, but, in any case, there should always be one point person who manages all of the social media accounts. PROMOTING SEPARATE DEPARTMENTS "As you add department pages, you're diluting the strength of your main page," Burns said. Too many pages can get confusing for the public, so counties should be decisive in setting up these separate accounts. If a department does show interest in starting its own account, however, Burns recommends a "test run" of the content on the county's main page first to see if there is real interest that garners likes on Facebook, retweets on Twitter, etc. SUMMER 2016 www.accg.org 35 http://www.accg.org/

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - Summer 2016

President’s Message
Director’s Desk
Cover Story: Growth and Opportunity in Elbert County
Georgia Counties Get Results in ACCG’s Policy Areas
Insights from Georgia’s Congressman Lynn Westmoreland
Making Strides for Healthy Communities
Preparing for the Zika Virus in Georgia
Georgia Public Libraries Shine
Counties Emerge into the Digital Age
News & Notes
Index of Advertisers
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - cover1
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - cover2
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 3
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 4
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 5
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 6
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 7
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - President’s Message
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Director’s Desk
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Cover Story: Growth and Opportunity in Elbert County
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 11
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 12
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 13
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 14
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 15
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Georgia Counties Get Results in ACCG’s Policy Areas
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 17
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 18
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 19
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Insights from Georgia’s Congressman Lynn Westmoreland
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 21
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Making Strides for Healthy Communities
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 23
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 24
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 25
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Preparing for the Zika Virus in Georgia
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 27
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Georgia Public Libraries Shine
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 29
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 30
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 31
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Counties Emerge into the Digital Age
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 33
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 34
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 35
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - 36
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - News & Notes
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - Index of Advertisers
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - cover3
Georgia County Government - Summer 2016 - cover4
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